No matter where I go (and I have certainly been to a few places in the world in the last year or so), the place which holds a very special place in my heart is Sydney. I wondered if the magic would still be there this year, but watching dawn break, seeing the sun come up over the Opera House and turn the Harbour Bridge to gold, I was once again totally captivated.
Saying goodbye to the floating palace which is Queen Victoria, and which had been my home for the past six weeks, mattered not a jot. I wanted to plant my feet firmly on the quayside and once again enjoy this wonderful city.
Disembarkation and the transfer to my hotel were speedy and smooth and I was off like a greyhound out of the traps and back down to the harbour. How strange was that? After longing to get ashore, I was back on a boat again in no time, but this time it was the Ferry to Manly. Last year I had paid it a very quick visit but had promised myself a very happy return were I to ever come back. Manly was full of tourists heading for the beach and surfboard carrying young men and girls with just one thought – to get straight into the blue/green water and the pounding surf. Not so dramatic as Bondi Beach but its golden sands were just as much a draw as the waves.
I hadn’t come to swim this time and enjoyed a leisurely wander, stopping for a coffee in a pavement cafe along the way. I had no need to check my watch and for the first time in weeks, I had no concern about missing the ship’s departure. I settled at another cafe by the beach and did what most people do when they come here….I ordered fish and chips and a cold beer! Forget the lobster, the steaks and all the fabulous food I have been served on the cruise…this was the real deal!